Imagine, the day you will strategize a battle and fight beside Greek heroes Arkantos, Ajax, Chiron and Amanra while taking down the Kraken or cyclops warlord Gargarensis! Perhaps, the metaverse will soon allow you to enter a world you always dreamt of, while playing the famous videogame Age of Mythology.
Not just in the gaming world, with the growing popularity of the metaverse and its ecosystem, many research firms and analysts have come out with its wide applicability for enterprises across all business functions.
Even though the metaverse is still in an exploratory phase, some industry giants like Walmart have already designed a metaverse for their store, along with a virtual AI shopping assistant to reimagine their consumers’ experience.
While investments in the metaverse continue to grow, the global market size of the metaverse is predicted to reach $5 trillion by 2030, and it has been forecast that over 15% of this revenue is going to be contributed by enterprises in their metaverse adoption. Besides entertainment and business, the metaverse will be exceptionally useful in the field of education.
Who else is exploring the metaverse?
- Nike’s Nikeland users get their own avatars who can buy virtual goods and indulge in various sports activities.
- Flying Sheep Studios recently got $1.2 million funding from Germany for a metaverse game.
- BMW, in partnership with Siemens and Nvidia, is creating a digital twin for their factory with realistic visualization of the operations.
- Nvidia recently teamed up with Microsoft to create an immersive internet tool for manufacturing companies.
- Honda and Ford have deployed VR for their design prototyping process.
As the lines between physical and digital have started to blur, the use of emerging technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), NFTs, blockchain and 5G is expanding beyond the gaming industry, taking the world to a mixed reality.
Being part of Web 3.0 allows users to interact directly with each other through ‘dapps’ or decentralized apps where users are in control of their own data. To pay for goods and services in the metaverse, consumers can use exchange traded products (ETPs). Blockchain technology supports this decentralization by storing data on a distributed ledger.
“In the near future, every business which exists in the physical universe will have its footprint in a digital reality. Accessibility and inclusivity are crucial aspects that need to be built into the limitless experience that’s not just about the metaverse, it’s about reimagining how people consume and experience different technologies,” says Kalyan Kumar, Global Chief Technology Officer and Head – Ecosystems at HCLTech.
The impetus on security
However, such a level of integration also opens new attack surfaces as vulnerable AR and VR devices that act as interfaces to connect reality to virtual worlds could become gateways for malicious intentions or data leaks.
Here, without proper comprehensive security mechanisms, such as authentication and authorization methods, attackers could sneak into a virtual environment and act as a “middleman” or a “ghost” without being seen or noticed. They could alter the environment, eavesdrop on the conversation and perform certain malicious actions that would threaten end-users, businesses and the games.
Therefore, to guard against malicious actors who could perform phishing, social engineering attacks and scams, identity management and data privacy must be prioritized.
With appropriate metaverse identity management solutions, which include trust and verification, users must be able to easily identify each other while conducting business or sharing an environment.
Data privacy in the metaverse will be the top priority because of such massive data being generated from wearable devices, microphones, heart and user interactions, which could easily lead to privacy violations and would be of huge concern for users and lawmakers. With proper standards and regulations, transparent data usage must be mandated by organizations.
HCLTech in the metaverse
Earlier this month, HCLTech launched its latest digital innovation, HCLTech Metafinity to enable enterprises to build exciting use cases in the metaverse and delight customers with real-time and immersive experiences.
With the potential to revolutionize the way humans work, learn and play, this virtual world is a platform for innovation and creativity where users can interact with each other. AI will elevate its potential by creating realistic avatars, developing new digital products and services with a competitive advantage, and facilitating remote working and collaboration.